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12-16-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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Getting the most out of my K20D

Hello,
I was wondering what I need to do in order to get the clearest, sharpest, and cleanest photos out of my K20D. I recently attempted to submit some photos to a stock photo site to try and fund my hobby and they were all rejected for things like white balance and focus. I am using a Tamron AF-if 28-105 1/4-5/6 as well as an older AF kit lens that provides even less spectacular results.
Yesterday I went out with my friend, she has a Nikon 40D with an 18-55mm kit lens and managed to get images that blew mine out of the water in regards to clarity and color.
Now the challenging part, I cannot afford the DA* lenses or anything close. I saved up for over two years for a good camera and would like to get something/anything that will allow for some decent shots until I can afford a decent lens. I am not opposed to any of the manual focus stuff, as I did start out on an Asahi SPII.

Suggestions?

12-18-2008, 11:58 AM   #2
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Can You Post Some Pics?

Some of your pics would really help here. You can get good results with the lenses that you have. It is a bit harder than with very good glass but there are some amazing shots out there with just the kit lens. Since your friend is using the Nikon kit lens, which is not rated a good as the Pentax kit lens, and getting good results, you probably need to work on your technique.
Are you shooting RAW and post processing or just shooting JPEGs and sending them off? Are you using a custom white balance for those important shots?
I found that using an 18% grey card to set a custom white balance gives me excellent color accuracy right from the start. I do this for every shot that I think is important. Shoot in RAW and post process to get the color and sharpness that you are looking for. Learn to use levels and unsharp mask in Photoshop, or whatever image processing software you use (I use GIMP and it is free).
Also, make sure that you are adhering to the file specifications of the stock photo site that you are submitting to.
Hope some of this helps.
12-18-2008, 12:12 PM   #3
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Where do one get a 18% grey card ?
12-18-2008, 12:29 PM   #4
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Howdy

You have got to post up some shots for the helpful forum folks to see. They will help you if they can see what your results were.

The D40 is one of the punchiest JPEG cameras out there. Straight from the camera the contrast/saturation is boosted and from what I can see they are sharpened up a bit too. (my friend has the D40)

But the K20 should spank it once you get the settings right and get a decent lens on it. But if what you are wanting is hot Jpegs straight from the camera, I am sure some of the menu settings can be bumped up on the K20 to get that. (although most would say that is not the best way to go)
So lets see some of those shots you submitted... and see what the K20 folks have to say.

12-23-2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Here are a few shot with the Tamron. The Kit lens after further review is actually better in a wider range of shots than the Tamron. I typically shoot in raw and post process in Lightroom. This board is quickly teaching me things so I'm altering my methods daily.

The stock photo site rejection reasons;

#1 White balance off..limited marketability
#2 Limited Marketability, possible trademark infringement
#3 Out of focus, white balance
#4 Lens Flair, WB, Purple flaring
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12-23-2008, 12:45 PM   #6
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My wife picked up a greycard at Cameta for about $6.
12-24-2008, 08:15 AM   #7
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Sometimes these stock photo folk don't use people on the first sift, so a machine may see a lot of sky or large areas of single colour and say WB is out, same also for a lack of contrast.

Anything with a readable name or logo falls foul of the copyright / trademark statement breech.

Just tweak sharpness and contrast in your PP software, crop out areas of large single colour i.e. sky, sand etc and remember no names, submit again and see how you get on.

Stock photo agencies are looking for the best images they can get and can therefore afford be quite fussy, especially in view of the numbers of submissions they receive on a daily basis. Your images must be different enough to stand out, be commercially appealing and as technically as good as you can get them.

Have a good look at images on their site and see what type and quality they look for in their image submissions and then give 'em what they want, good luck.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 12-24-2008 at 08:21 AM.
12-24-2008, 11:22 AM   #8
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I just went and adjusted the AF on all my lenses and my kit lens was off -2, the Tamron +2, and my Tamron 105-300 was off by 7 steps. Amazing the difference in picture quality

12-29-2008, 02:39 AM   #9
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Sorry to say this, but your pictures are boring.

Expose for the highlights
Fill the frame
Don't include the sky in grey/boring weather
Make the picture, don't just take it.
"Golden hours", nice colors of red, yellow, orange, purple/blue-ish before and after sunrise/sunset.
Think about the end result when you are taking the picture.

After I tried this, my pictures got alot better. I'm still learning alot every day.

I moved some sliders in Lightroom on your picture. I will remove the picture when you have seen it.

Last edited by NorthPentax; 12-30-2008 at 01:25 AM.
12-29-2008, 07:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by NorthPentax Quote
Sorry to say this, but your pictures are boring.

Expose for the highlights
Fill the frame
Don't include the sky in grey/boring weather
Make the picture, don't just take it.
"Golden hours", nice colors of red, yellow, orange, purple/blue-ish before and after sunrise/sunset.
Think about the end result when you are taking the picture.

After I tried this, my pictures got alot better. I'm still learning alot every day.

I moved some sliders in Lightroom on your picture. I will remove the picture when you have seen it.
I see what you mean, like you I am learning things, including PP everyday. I'll include another photo I took today
12-29-2008, 07:05 PM   #11
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this is what I'm seeing after some PP and seeing the end result as you suggested. I think the biggest challenge so far, aside from actually getting an interesting photograph, is to know what the PP software is capable of.
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01-26-2009, 02:19 PM   #12
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Remember marketability...stock agencies are looking for images that can easily be used in marketing and advertisements. This was the hardest thing that I had to learn. It is not simply about great images, but it is about the clients of the stock agency and their needs.

Take a look through different stock agencies and their images, this should give you a great idea of the type of images that the agencies are looking for.
01-26-2009, 04:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by shadowraven Quote
#3 Out of focus, white balance
Wow! Wrong white balance in B&W picture!? This is really funny
01-26-2009, 08:55 PM   #14
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Thread moved to DSLR forum.
01-27-2009, 09:44 AM   #15
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You also might want to try a few pics in Bright JPEG mode out of the K20D. I'm betting your friend w/ the D40 showed you JPEG images straight out of the D40 instead of RAW images which pretty much look like K10D RAW images since it has the same sensor.

RAW, by nature, looks somewhat subdued in saturation/contrast and somewhat soft because none of those are tweaked.

If you want to see what the K10D RAW is capable of, load up Picasa and click on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button, then the Sharpen button. It gets it mostly right and provides that punchy/contrasty look that most people seem to like nowadays. The compare it w/ the D40 photos...
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